You may be familiar with the general dangers of drinking alcohol, but are you aware of the dangers specific to women? Alcohol can quickly turn into an unhealthy habit, develop into an addiction, and cause serious health problems.
If you find yourself drinking more often than you would like, or recognize that you can’t seem to make it throughout the day without downing a drink or six, consider exploring the benefits of joining a detox program for women and starting your journey toward a healthier, sober lifestyle with an alcohol treatment professional.
In this article, we’re exploring the many dangers associated with consuming alcohol, specifically women and alcohol.
Women and Alcohol
It’s just a simple glass of wine after the kids go to bed, right? When we’re dealing with stress from all aspects of life and going through a particularly difficult time, it makes sense that we may find ourselves drinking more. One glass every now and then easily turns into a couple of glasses a few nights a week. The more consumed, the more dangerous it becomes to our overall health.
It is common to think that drinking a few drinks here and there could be harmless. After all, alcohol is such a socially acceptable thing to do that it happens every day without people giving it a second thought. According to the CDC, heavy drinking is defined as 8 or more drinks per week for women – which is a number many women reach. The truth is, whether you consider yourself an alcoholic, alcohol-dependent, or neither – alcohol consumption can pose dangerous health risks — especially to women.
Here are 10 dangerous health risks associated with women and alcohol.
1. An Increased Risk of Breast Cancer
Drinking more than 3 servings of alcohol each week increases the risk of breast cancer according to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. For those with a family history, the risk is even greater. What’s more is that alcohol has been known to increase the risk of mouth cancer, throat cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, and more. It is safe to say that alcohol is a known carcinogen.
2. Leads to Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut occurs when the gut lining is permeated and begins leaking bacteria and toxins into your bloodstream. This can impact the immune system, sometimes maybe even leading to autoimmune conditions. A few symptoms are bloating, fatigue, digestive issues, food sensitivities, and skin problems.
Alcohol can be harsh on your system and can very easily cause holes within your stomach lining – resulting in leaky gut syndrome.
3. Breeds an Imbalanced Gut Microbiome
In addition to the leaky gut syndrome, the ecosystem of your gut is impacted even more due to alcohol consumption and an imbalanced microbiome. This can actually lead to things like cravings, depression, and anxiety.
Researchers are discovering that the cravings associated with gut issues can lead to increased alcohol consumption – and may even lead to addiction. Learn more about alcoholic gastritis.
4. An Increased Risk for Dementia
Studies show that heavy alcohol use can cause the brain to shrink for both men and women. However, in women, this shrinking occurs at a much faster rate. The parts of the brain that are most susceptible are
- The cingulate gyrus – AS a component of the limbic system, this area of the brain is responsible for the formation and processing of emotions.
- The insula – The area of the brain that works to achieve balance, as well as emotions like compassion, perception, and empathy. The insula is also responsible for certain areas of cognition, motor control, and self-awareness.
All is not lost, though. Reducing alcohol consumption can allow the brain to recover what it has lost.
5. The Risk of Developing Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are fairly common in women. But, for those who consume a lot of alcohol, the risk of developing these fibroids is much greater.
Alcohol consumption increases the level of estrogen – both estrone and estradiol – in the body which is what researchers believe is responsible for the higher incidence rate for fibroids in those who drink often.
6. Damage to the Liver
The liver works hard to filter blood from your digestive tract, careful to remove any toxins to keep you healthy. It is well-known, however, that alcohol can cause a huge disruption in liver function. Chronic alcohol use can eventually lead to a condition known as cirrhosis of the liver, as well as liver failure.
7. A Greater Risk of Infertility
Women who consume alcohol at an elevated rate are at an increased risk for menstrual irregularity and miscarriage. This also increases their ovulatory factor when it comes to reproduction. This factor refers to the ovaries’ lack of release of an unfertilized egg each month.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, women who are considered moderate drinkers have a 30% increased risk of the ovulatory factor while heavy drinkers have a 60% increased risk.
8. Higher Risk of Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a painful medical condition in which the lining tissue meant to protect inside the uterus is actually found outside the uterus. It leads to painful monthly periods, painful sexual intercourse, general pain, and even difficulty getting pregnant.
Many studies have been conducted and have determined that the risk of endometriosis is 18% higher in drinkers than in non-drinkers. Just as it occurs with brain health, endometriosis risk can be lowered.
9. Risk of Stroke is Elevated
For those who consume alcohol regularly, the risk of stroke is increased. Several studies have tried to monitor this connection – and all have come to the same conclusion that alcohol increases the risk of stroke.
10. A Reduction of Lifespan
Alcohol can be damaging to your health and, thus, affect your lifespan. And it is not just heavy consumption that leads to this reduction in years. Studies show that, after the age of 40, every extra drink you take could be taking minutes off of your lifespan.
Chronic alcohol consumption can be dangerous – and deadly.
This list doesn’t even touch on the impact alcohol consumption has on a woman’s mental or emotional health. Or, the increased incidence of sexual abuse or violence that may occur – and the damaging effects it has on the body.
If you feel that you may have a problem with alcohol use or would like to talk to somebody, then it is time to take that first step. Find a program that will allow you to heal – mind and body (like we discussed in #3 above) – so that you can be free from your addiction.
What may start as a social activity amongst friends could turn into a deadly addiction
Alcohol poses serious health risks for women. Between stroke, reproductive issues, increased risk for cancer, gut issues, and more – there is no safe reason to continue alcohol consumption.